Page images
PDF
EPUB

only favourable point in the outlook was the hope that a national Lombard kingship might be once more restored in the person of Berengar. It was the unfortunate connection between the Pope, the Italian crown, and the imperial title that was still to be Berengar's bane. He had hardly reigned a year in peace (900) when Pope Benedict IV. and the remains of the party of Lambert of Spoleto found a new competitor to pit against him. This was Lewis, king of Provence (or Arles), the son of king Boso and the Italian princess Hermengarde, and therefore the grandson of the good emperor Lewis II. Lewis won several successes over Berengar, was crowned king of Lombardy at Pavia, and then received the imperial crown at Rome in February 901. But he could not permanently hold his own. After a year's fighting Berengar succeeded in chasing him beyond the Alps. He returned in 905, again called in by the rebellious counts of central Italy, and once more won some fleeting advantages over the native king of the land. But as he lay in Verona he was suddenly surrounded by an army of Berengar's partisans; the citizens of the place threw open the gates at night, and the young Provençal emperor fell into his rival's hands. Berengar bade his servants blind the captive, and sent him back in sorry plight to abide in his kingdom by the Rhone. “And so at last he firmly held the Italian crown, which had cost so many princes their lives.' But it was only a precarious empire over the Lombard plain that Berengar enjoyed. The Pope and the counts of central Italy, even when they did not raise up any rival against him, systematically set his commands at nought. The imperial title he either did not B covet or could not obtain from the Pope, till in erengar - conquers the 915 John X. bought his support against the Moors. Saracens of the Garigliano by conferring on him the long-withheld dignity. In the following year Italy was happily relieved from that band of marauders. The troops of Berengar, of the dukes of Spoleto and Benevento, and of the Pope were all for once united in the holy war, and when united they proved invincible. The forts of the Mussulmans were stormed, their armies beaten in the field, and the whole colony finally rooted out. But after this triumph Berengar was not fated to die in peace. In his old age his enemies stirred up against him yet another king from beyond the Alps, Rudolf II. of Upper Burgundy. Berengar was once more deserted by many of his followers, and once more saw the greater part of Death of Lombardy overrun by a Transalpine army. But Berengar, this time he was not destined to survive his troubles. While besieged in Verona in the year 924, he was murdered by traitors, and lost his life, as well as the royal and imperial crown, for which he had so often contended.

CHAPTER XXVII

GERMANY 888-918

Arnulf, king of Germany—His victory at Louvain over the Danes—His expedition to Italy—His troubles with his son Zwentibold—Approach of the Magyars—Reign of Lewis the Child—Internal anarchy, and disasters from Magyar invasions—Reign of Conrad of Franconia—His troubles and death.

ARNULF of Carinthia was base-born, the son of the Slavonic mistress of king Carloman, but he possessed a considerable share of the strength and vigour of his ancestors. For the twelve years of his reign the German realm made head against its enemies to north and east, and held the primacy among the states of Christendom. The Frankish empire had now fallen apart into five states: but the kings who held the other shares all came to seek out Arnulf and obtain his recognition of their rights. Odo the ruler of the West Franks was the first to appear before the German monarch and crave his friendship. It would almost appear that he recognised Arnulf as his superior and liege-lord, for on his return to Neustria he had himself crowned for a second time at Rheims in the presence of German ambassadors, and with a diadem which Arnulf had given to him. Rudolf the ruler of Upper Burgundy was the S r next to visit the German court: he came to Regensupremacy o Arnulf in the burg, obtained recognition from Arnulf, and reEmpire. turned in peace. Berengar of Lombardy, already threatened with war by his competitor Wido of Spoleto, met the king of Germany at Trent, on the border of his realm,

and promised to be his faithful supporter in all things. Lastly 468

Hermengarde, the widow of Boso of Lower Burgundy (Arles), placed her young son Lewis under Arnulf's protection, and besought him to undertake the regency of the Provençal realm. Though Arnulf had not obtained the imperial title he was for all practical purposes far more of a general suzerain and ruler of the whole Frankish realm than any of his relatives had been for the last fifty years. The best sign of his strength was that he succeeded in checking the inroads of the Vikings in a manner which made them for the future the least dangerous of the many enemies of Germany. In 891 the Danes came flooding into Austrasia in great force, and harried all the lands on the Meuse and Moselle. The local levies of Lotharingia were beaten, and Sunderold archbishop of Mainz, who had led them, fell on the field. But Arnulf, who had been far away in Bavaria, came flying westward on the news of this disaster, and chased the Danes as far as their great fortified camp at Louvain on the Dyle. There they had entrenched themselves with the river at their back and a marsh in their front, which rendered it impossible for the Frankish horsemen to approach them. But Arnulf bade all his The Battle of warriors dismount, and taking axe in hand led Louvain, 891. them through the swamp and up to the Danish palisades. The Germans hewed down the breastwork, broke into the camp, and drove the Danes into the river, where most of them perished. This was the last first-class engagement which the Danes ever fought in the East Frankish realm. They continued to come on plundering excursions to Frisia and the lower Rhine, but never attempted again either to penetrate deep into the land or to set up any independent principality upon its borders. After defeating the Danes and putting down some risings of his eastern Slavonic vassals, the Czechs and Moravians, Arnulf undertook the unwise enterprise of con- Arnulfin quering Italy, whence his friend and vassal Italy. Berengar had of late been expelled by Wido of Spoleto. Of the details of his two invasions of 894 and 895-6 we have spoken at length in our Italian chapter." Arnulf returned from Italy wearing the imperial crown, whose splendour seemed to ratify the primacy that he already possessed over his brother-kings; but he was broken in health by the fever that he had caught in the Roman campaign, and he left Italy behind him in a state of complete disorder, and mainly in the hands of Lambert of Spoleto. After his Italian expedition Arnulf's reign was much less fortunate. A fatal succession-difficulty arose in his own house, and caused endless trouble. For many years he had no lawful issue born to him: so he persuaded the national council of the Germans to allow him to designate his bastard son Zwentibold as his heir (889). Four years later he made this prince sub-king in Lotharingia. But the same year (893) his wedded wife Ota bore him a son, known in history as Dynasti Lewis the Child, who was therefore recognised ynastic - troubles, as the lawful heir to the empire, to the great grief 893-99. and anger of the new king of Lotharingia. From this time forward Zwentibold, an unruly and turbulent young man, was a perpetual thorn in his father's side. He grudged his infant brother the heritage of the German kingdom, and persistently stirred up strife. He fell into a long and bloody feud with some of the chief nobles of Lotharingia, and notably with Reginald-with-the-Long-Neck, count of Hainault and the Maasgau. In revenge for his tyranny Reginald and many others of the Austrasians called in to their aid Charles the Simple, the monarch of Neustria, and did homage to him as king of Lotharingia, handing over to him the old royal towns of Aachen and Nimuegen. The attempt to tear away Austrasia from Germany failed, not because of Zwentibold's arms, but because Charles the Simple feared to face the whole force of the East Frankish realm, when Arnulf took up his son's cause (898). He agreed to retire into his own states, and evacuated Austrasia. Of even greater import of evil to Germany than Zwentibold's * See pages 463-4.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »